“Sacramentals” in the Home
In my friend’s home, the dining room table is definitely a “Sacramental”. Over four decades of birthday parties, anniversaries, graduations, athletic victories, Thanksgiving, and Christmas dinners were celebrated around that magnificent mahogany table. Countless laughs and tears were shared along with the food and drink.
The collective nicks and scars from toppled wine glasses and gravy drippings by exuberant celebrants are testimony of good times, past. My friend never considered the restorative refinishing to the table’s original pristine shine. Those time-worn blemishes are badges of honor never to be erased by the specious patina of new glossy stains and varnish. While bruised & beaten, that joyous & glorious dining table serves as a family memorial to all that was true and good throughout the years.
Along with this sacred family table, is the valued tradition of “Customizing a Blessing” in honor of a specific occasion. For example, if the family were celebrating a wedding anniversary, the last line of the “Blessing” would be changed accordingly:
“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm on your face, and the rain fall soft on your fields.
And for the rest of your wedded life, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”
Other adaptations are:
“And for the rest of your new productive career…”
“And for your successful surgery & speedy recovery…”
“And for repair-free enjoyment in your new home…”
And so on, and so on…
So, The Dining Room Table also Served as a Bridge Over Troubled Waters
These adaptive “Blessings” are an integral part of family traditions celebrated around the dining table. The term “Sacramental” elevates family celebrations to the realm of something “Holy”. They are clearly celebrations of love. They are functional expressions of Mother Theresa’s sage advice, “If you want world peace, go home and love your family.”
And so, that dining table supported more than dishes and serving platters & bowls. That dining table supported his family’s “Loving Spirit”, collectively and individually. It provided strength “To stand on mountains. It was a safe harbor during stormy seas.” It’s main entrée’ was confidence: “To be all that one could be.”
All family and guests shared in the generous servings of those delicacies, as they were freely passed around that magnificent mahogany table. In the stillness of the night, the table emitted no groaning creaks. All that was heard were the echoes of lingering laughter; and visions of hugs and kisses.
That’s exactly what Mother Theresa had in mind.